Last updated on June 2019

Development of a Patient Centered Mental Health Intervention for Recent Veterans


Brief description of study

Recent Veterans of the OIF/OEF/OND conflicts are presenting in VA care with high rates of: PTSD, depression, anxiety, and alcohol abuse, reporting significant difficulties with community reintegration, and dropping out of mental health care at high rates. Surveys of recent Veterans show that Veterans want the VA to provide mental health care tailored to their concerns and reintegration priorities. The VA is committed to providing personalized, proactive, patient centered care (PCC); but little research or intervention development has been done on PCC in mental health care settings and preliminary research indicates Veterans may lack the skills and knowledge to be active partners in PCC. This study aims to examine PCC behaviors in VA mental health care and, informed by this data, develop a brief patient centered mental health intervention that will help recent Veterans take the lead in their care personalization and support their functional recovery. Results from this study will demonstrate the acceptability, feasibility, and preliminary efficacy of this intervention.

Detailed Study Description

Project Background: The term "recent Veterans" refers to Veterans who served in the military operations Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation New Dawn. Almost 60% of recent Veterans who received VA care have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, most commonly posttraumatic stress disorder (32%), depressive disorders (26%), anxiety disorders (25%), and substance abuse (13%). The research literature consistently confirms that recent Veterans with stress-related mental health disorders experience impairment in functional domains of health (overcoming and managing disease), purpose (meaningful daily activities and participation in society), and community (positive relationships and social networks).

Project Objectives: The proposed research will characterize patient centered care in VA mental health care and produce a brief patient centered intervention that will empower Veterans to lead and personalize their mental health care in support of their functional recovery. In Aim 1 of this research the investigators will characterize rates of providers' and recent Veterans' (n=30) participation in the four components of PCC, as well as barriers and facilitators of each PCC component, to inform development of a brief patient centered mental health intervention in Aim 2. In Aim 2 the investigators will develop a brief patient centered mental health intervention for recent Veterans experiencing stress-related mental health disorders and conduct a pre-pilot demonstration (n=10) to assess acceptability. This intervention will be informed by data collected in Aim 1 and developed using an iterative process of discussion with and input from recent Veterans, VA mental health providers, peer specialists, and researchers. Finally in Aim 3 the investigators will test the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of the brief intervention by conducting a randomized controlled trial with 48 recent Veterans with stress-related mental health disorders.

Project Methods: In Aim 1 data will be collected at one time point using surveys and a recording of a Veteran provider encounter which will be coded to quantify Veteran and provider patient centered care behaviors. Intervention development in Aim 2 will be led by a multi-stakeholder Advisory Panel and further developed using Veteran focus groups. Acceptability will be demonstrated via qualitative interviews following a pre-pilot demonstration project with 10 Veteran participants. In Aim 3 data will be collected at baseline, post-RCT participation, and 3 month and 6 month follow-up. Feasibility will be assessed with study administration data on engagement and participation in the intervention and preliminary efficacy will be evaluated via coded Veteran provider encounters and quantitative analysis of functioning from self-report surveys.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT02943408

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